BERKELEY (CBS SF) – Most California drivers have felt it, that moment your heart jumps when a motorcycle zooms past you in heavy traffic. Lane splitting doesn’t feel safe, but according a new study it is, at certain speeds.

That fear has led to California being the lone state where the practice of driving between cars on the freeway is legal, when done in a “prudent” manner. Motorcyclists say the practice is safe when it’s done with the same level of caution used when driving in the lane, and now a new study from U.C. Berkeley suggests they’re right.

Researchers found that when motorcyclists are driving 10 miles an hour faster – or less – relative to car traffic, they are no more likely to get in a wreck than at any other time. If they go more than 10 miles an hour faster, the risk shoots up quickly.

As for people driving much, much faster than traffic?

“They are asking for it,” motorcycle safety instructor Oscar Herera tells CBS News’ Carter Evans. “At 30 miles-per-hour, by the time you hit the brakes, you’ve already passed two cars.”

Evans’ full report has more on the study:

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